Helmet of Salvation
“You know, God tried to stop that from happening, but you had to have it your own way! Now look what you did!”
It was a joke. I knew it was a joke. I knew the heart of the person who said it. But it nearly wrecked me.
It took two years (and one minor surgery) for me to get pregnant. I wanted so desperately to be a mom, but for a while it looked like it might not happen. And then came our beautiful little girl. I just knew I was going to relish every single moment of motherhood!
But that’s what people without kids say. The reality is that motherhood is wonderful and amazing—and hard and exhausting. And a few weeks after we brought that first baby home, I was overwhelmed, discouraged, and completely worn out. And that’s when someone dear to me thought he would lighten the mood with a little teasing.
What he didn’t know was that those words went straight to my heart. I felt them in that moment and wondered if he was right. But I felt them even more as my daughter grew and her humanity—and her genetics—became more evident. When I saw her struggling with some of the things I struggled with, things I knew I hadn’t modeled but that she had simply inherited, I heard his words again: God tried to stop that from happening, but you had to have it your own way. And I was devastated.
I did this to her, I thought. It’s my fault she’s struggling. God tried to stop this. He knew better than to have another me out there in the world.
I’m embarrassed to tell you that I carried the weight of those words around for years. And then one day I came across one of the most well-known verses in the Bible, but it hit me in a whole new way: “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). It was like the Holy Spirit was nudging me and saying, “See? See? She isn’t made in your image, she’s made in God’s! And, um, so are you!” God wasn’t disappointed to have another someone out there with my DNA. He lovingly made me in His image, and then He made my daughter (and my two sons) in His image, too.
I had been distracted and discouraged for far too long, all because I let the enemy take a silly joke and use it to tear me down.
And this, friend, is why the helmet of salvation is so very important.
And take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God
Paul has encouraged us to put on our armor, and today we come to the final piece of defensive armor. (Next week we’ll go on the offense, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.) Now that we have donned the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the readiness of the gospel on our feet, and taken up our shield of faith, Paul quite literally tops it all off with the helmet of salvation.
Clearly our salvation is a tremendous gift. (We talk more about what salvation is in the Battle Prep section, so make sure to check it out!) It makes sense that it would be a vital part of our spiritual armor. But why the helmet? Why does salvation protect our minds?
Because our salvation becomes our identity. When we are saved, we are adopted into God’s family (Ephesians 1:5) and called his children (John 1:12). We are a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17) and God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10, NLT). Our salvation is more than something that happens to us—it is the foundation for who we are.
And the enemy does not want us resting in that.
He much prefers to distract us with lies, to leave us feeling unwanted, unloved, and insecure. So he whispers to us. He reminds us of who we used to be. He tries to pull us back into darkness, sometimes through guilt and other times through pleasure. As long as our focus is off of the truth, he’s happy.
This is where the helmet comes in. In Colossians, Paul exhorts, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ [<--That’s salvation!], set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things” (3:1-2). We do not want to let the enemy slip in with his lies that distract and discourage. We want to keep our minds firmly set on the truth and beauty of our salvation—our identity in Christ.
It sounds simple enough, right? But how exactly do we guard our minds? Well, it doesn’t just happen, let me tell you. It takes intention. In Romans 12 (right after my favorite verse, when we learn that God wants us to give Him our everyday, ordinary lives) Paul warns, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind” (vs 2). Let me tell you, conforming is much easier than transforming. It takes zero effort. It happens as we just sit still and do nothing—in fact, when I think of conforming, it always makes me think of erosion. A rock doesn’t have to do anything to erode. It just sits there as nature takes its course. I didn’t have to do anything to be consumed with the words that haunted me when Grace was a baby. As long as I didn’t fight against them, they wore me down.
But being transformed takes action and effort. We fight against what comes naturally and pursue the thing we are seeking to become. And what is that thing? What do we want to become? More like Christ.
How does it happen? By setting our minds on things above. Taking every thought captive (2 Cor. 10:5). Praying. Bible reading. Telling ourselves the truth (which takes us back to the Bible!). Praising God.
So tell me, friend, how are you setting your mind on things above? Will you hit reply and tell me about it? Because another great way to renew our minds is to tell others about God’s faithfulness in our lives, so I would love to hear what you have to share!
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With each piece of armor we cover, I’ll include some extra Bible passages for you to study and thoughts for you to think through, journal about, and/or discuss with others.
As we said before, this idea of spiritual armor is not unique to Paul. Back in Isaiah 59, we see God himself putting on armor—and specifically, the breastplate of righteousness and “a helmet of salvation on his head” (vs 17). This should tell us that the helmet of salvation is no afterthought. It is a key piece of equipment in our armor. Which makes sense, since it, you know, protects our head.
So let’s look at this helmet we’re called to wear. What is salvation? What are we saved from? As with every piece of armor Paul has listed, he has already talked about this earlier in his letter to the Ephesians.
- Ephesians 1:3-10
- Ephesians 2:1-7
How does Paul describe salvation? List some of the words he uses to describe it. Who were we before we were saved? Who are we after? How is it accomplished?
And one more assignment for you this week… Let’s fill our minds with the truth of our identity in Christ. But instead of me telling you where to look this time, I’m going to ask you to do it. Do you have any verses about our identity that jump into your head? If not, check out this list to get you started. Now, take any verses that stand out to you and write them down. Taking the time to write them out engages a different part of your brain and helps to get it more fully into your mind. Write them as they appear or in your own words. Write them in a fancy way or draw pictures around them. Write a prayer to thank God for who he has made you in Christ.
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